Instagram is a name that has quite recently become synonymous with the word photo and of course, filter. With over 400 Million active users and over 40 Billion photos shared, it has quickly risen to become the number one photo sharing app in the world.

It has even gone as far as to borrow’ certain aspects from similar apps, such as the My Story’ feature from Snapchat, which I assume is in order to maintain its superiority – but that’s a story for another time.

Now, by far, the most appealing aspect of the app is its in-built photo editor that allows for the creation of beautiful (square) images and of course, Kylie Jenner selfies.

Instagram would not be the same without selfies. Have you ever wondered how you can make your photographs just that tiny bit more amazing, well, I’m here to share 8 tips for improving your photos with an added bonus of a few extra followers.

1 – Framing

The frame is arguably the most important aspect of the photo. Do you want something abstract? Maybe something more symmetrical? Framing your photo properly can mean the difference between a barren wasteland devoid of likes and a fanatic flock of followers that you can then freely control. Just look at the most recent Selena Gomez photo everyone’s raving about.

2 – Placement

Placement, be it objects or people is also of equal importance. Make sure that you know what you want from the photo before setting it up. For example, a minimal design template would involve the careful placement of a few items against a plain backdrop which in result, are better emphasized. People work in the same way. Know where you stand.

3 – Lighting

I cannot stress the importance of lighting enough. You can take the best photo you’ve ever taken but it won’t mean anything if the lighting is off. Manually adjusting lux or brightness once the photo is taken will never have the same effect as it affects the image noise. That’s the reason why dimly lit photos often feel of lesser quality.

4 – Theme

Set a theme for your profile. Animals, Vistas, Portraits… it could be anything. A theme can help differentiate yourself from other profiles with no focus. This lets your followers know why they’re following you. Profiles with specific themes usually have a higher user retention rate than ones without.

5 – Trial & Error

Don’t be afraid to try out new things and take as many photos as you need until you’re satisfied. In this modern landscape, you don’t have to own an 8,000$ camera to become a good photographer. Stick to the themes you enjoy photographing and try out various methods (like what we previously discussed) and take lots and lots of photos. Which brings us to…

6 – Take Lots and Lots of Photos!

Hard work is required for everything that we hope to achieve and Instagram is no exception. Practice makes perfect and the only way to practice is by taking as many photos as you can. Think of what you would like to achieve throughout your Instagram career and take steps accordingly.

7 – Take Risks

Everybody is afraid of failure, it’s embedded in our DNA. However, that concept of failure is what prevents us from taking risks and truly reaching for the stars. Everyone fails before they succeed. Set a goal for yourself and push through the good and the bad until you can tell yourself that you really tried. In other words, don’t give up when the going gets tough. I believe in you!

8 – Filters 

Let me begin by saying this: Filters do not make the photo. Now before I’m shunned and kicked off the internet, they can make a difference but I believe them to be of much lower importance than say, lighting. So, let’s try an experiment. Next time you take a photo you’re really proud of, forget about the filters and fiddle around with the settings a little bit. You’d be surprised at the results. This also helps the photo feel way more authentic. Trust me.

Bonus – #Hashtags

Although completely unrelated to photography itself, proper use of hashtags is essential to marketing your photos and getting them out into the Instasphere. Short and sweet is the way to go. Stick to 5 or 6 hashtags using a single word. For example, #ThisArticleIsAmazing is pointless. In this case, try something like #Article #Amazing #Need #More.

The Great thing about social media is being able to share art and photographs with not only friends and family but to also share them with the world.

Social media had been able to bring us together with people from across the globe. Instagram is one of the major players in contributing to spreading that beauty, see for yourself with 10 inspiring photographers to follow on Instagram.

Michael Christopher Brown:

Michael Christopher Brown is a photo journalist that works for National Geographic for various news reports. He has been to many places such as, the Congo, China, and Libya to name a few. Michael’s imagery and talent really tell the story of the places he reports on. The culture, and values, the beauty and the struggles can all be seen in his work.

Daniel Kordan:

With 243K followers Daniel Kordan has taken Instagram by storm with his breath-taking landscape photos. Impressively enough the landscape photo pieces of art come from various places such as Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Italy as well as Norway. If you are generally in love with Nature this is the man to follow.

Darryl Jones:

A very humorous photographer from South Africa who is known for taking entertaining shots of toys and other household objects and add a little comical caption. If you are looking for a more humorous side of photography, check out his page.

Gary Arndt:

Gary Arndt has gained his award-winning reputation be traveling to over 110 countries, and 7 continents. Taking pictures of cultural influences and landscape he can make you feel like you are at that location site.

Kevin Russ:

Kevin Russ is a professional photographer who takes a unique spin on photos of the American West, he takes these amazing pictures with his iPhone, granting him the nickname “iPhone’s Ansel Adams.”

Mark Hunter:

Another very humorous photographer here is Mark Hunter. With the help of his trusty Legos Hunter forms interesting scenes of different daily situations. Sometimes when he gets his imagination rolling, he spices up the situations with a little fun.

Jane Samuels:

If you like the sight of old abandoned then Jane Samuels is where to look. Jane finds and captures beauty in different abandoned structures. With her photographer skills, she opens a whole new aspect on hatred and neglect on these places. With these she raises awareness of the past of unseen places

Theron Humphrey:

Don’t you just love getting on different social media sites and seeing pictures of cute animals? If you jumped answering yes well then, now you know where to turn, Theron Humphrey. Not only does he post cute lovable pictures of his dog Maddie, but he is also the big winner of National Geographic’s Traveler of the Year.

Simone Bramante:

If you are into to the more of the setting side of photography Simone has got you covered. With his ability to not only capture the beauty he also catches the story behind the scenery. He often claims to call himself a story teller before he claims to be a photographer.

Roman Palchenkov:

This photographer can find the beauty in structures and in his heritage and culture. Roman Palchenkov is co-founder of Freezelight and has amazing stories to share with the world through his beautiful pieces.